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6.3.2 Informing, Counselling and the Preparation of Prospective Adopters


Publicity and Recruitment Procedure

Assessment of Prospective Adopters Procedure

Early Permanence: Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Procedure


Statutory Adoption Guidance

Please note: There is a shortened process for prospective adopters who have already been approved as foster carers / adopters.

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


  1. Introduction
  2. Regulatory Requirements

1. Introduction

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1. The amount and quality of information made available to adopters is crucial in encouraging potential adopters to come forward, and in maintaining and sustaining their interest in adoption. Work with prospective adopters should be characterised by an open, fair and honest approach. The provision of information is crucial in building an effective working relationship with prospective adopters in which a free exchange of information can take place. This will facilitate the assessment process and enable those prospective adopters who are unlikely to be able to meet the needs of an adoptive child to be identified at an early stage. A degree of self - selection and the voluntary withdrawal of unsuitable applicants should be encouraged in order to avoid wasteful deployment of resources and minimise later disappointment and distress to applicants.

2. Regulatory Requirements

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Regulation 21 of the Adoption Agencies Regulations requires the agency to:

  • Provide a counselling service for prospective adopters;
  • Explain and provide written information about the procedure in relation to, and the legal implications of, placement for adoption and adoption. Where the prospective adopters are interested in adoption with a foreign element the explanation must relate to the country from which they wish to adopt a child.

Regulation 24 of the Adoption Agencies Regulations requires the agency to prepare prospective adopters for adoption and sets out the information which should be provided during the preparation, as follows:

  • The age range, sex, likely needs and background of children who may be placed for adoption by the agency;
  • The significance of adoption for a child and their birth family;
  • Contact between a child and their birth parent and other relatives where a child is authorised to be placed for adoption or is adopted;
  • The skills which are necessary for an adoptive parent;
  • The adoption agency's procedures in relation to the assessment of a prospective adopter and the placement of a child for adoption;
  • The procedure in relation to placement for adoption and adoption.
Information provided about the assessment process should include clarification of the criteria being used to assess suitability. Adopters should also be informed about the support services, including financial assistance, available to adoptive families after placement.

The process of informing and counselling prospective adopters starts at their first point of contact with the agency, and is an ongoing process. Prospective adopters need be kept fully informed at every stage of the adoption process. Whilst a great deal of information will be given at the outset, prospective adopters are likely to need to review the information, and their understanding of it at different stages of the process. Prospective adopters will also benefit from opportunities to discuss, and explore the implications of the information provided with other prospective adopters, and to obtain different perspectives on adoption by talking to people who have adopted children and also to adult adoptee.

For further information see Adoption National Minimum Standards.
4. The Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 introduced the requirement for potential adopters to formally register their interest to enter the adoption process. Please see the Publicity and Recruitment Procedure, Section 4, Registration of Interest in Adoption.